Study: Online Credit Card Consumers Prefer Direct Mail

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Today's online credit card applicants are more plugged into what's in their mailbox than what's in their inbox, according to a study released yesterday.

Despite trends in online marketing, a study by comScore Networks for the U.S. Postal Service found that most consumers still prefer and respond more strongly to direct mail.

Direct mail is a key in determining the online behavior of consumers, and mail is the No. 1 driver of traffic to online credit card applications, according to the 2005 "Multi-Channel Credit Card Acquisition Study."

ComScore, which measures consumer behavior and attitudes, said mail was responsible for more than 13 million of the nearly 35 million online credit card applications last year -- more than one-third of all online applications.

ComScore observed the actual online behavior of 1 million consumers and administered a pop-up survey to more than 2,400 online credit card applicants at various credit card company Web sites. The study was designed to quantify the benefits of mail versus online marketing tools such as e-mail and banner ads.

Other highlights from the study:

· 70 percent of all consumers, 69 percent of prospects and 74 percent of existing customers open and read a credit card offer when delivered via mail; 65 percent of consumers read more of the credit card offers they receive in their mailbox rather than over the Internet.

· Mail drives the most credit card application initiations, and consumers influenced by mail have the highest application conversion rate.

· Mail drove 18.5 million application initiations, and 70 percent of those completed and submitted the application.

· 61 percent of consumers respond more to credit card offers they receive in their mailbox than over the Internet.

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